No Penance?

So i went to confession yesterday before Mass, and I was a bit late getting to church during the normal confession times (i go to an offcampus church ten minutes away, but i got stuck behind a slow walker). anyway i did my confession and it was something that the priest didn’t think was that big of an issue (when i mentioned it before, he would always brush it off), so he didn’t ask me to do the act of contrition and he didn’t give me a penance. He did give me absolution. This was like 15 minutes before Mass, so maybe he was afraid of starting Mass late?

so two questions

  1. Was the absolution valid?
  2. Is there ever a reason to skip penance or act of contrition?

Since I started going to confession again, I have not had the priest ask me to say the Act of Contrition once. I did get a penance once, but the last 2 times, the priest did not give me a penance. I asked on another thread if this was valid, and the posters told me that it is. But I like things by the book, so next time, I am going to say the Act of Contrition anyway and ask the priest for a penance if he doesn’t offer one.

Somehow it feels like “Confession Lite” without the penance.

  1. Yes, the absolution was valid.
  2. I would imagine he probably just forgot. If he does it again, maybe you could politely bring it up with him if you see him again.

It happened with me once with an elderly priest, but I didn’t notice until the priest was gone. Knowing the priest, I’m absolutely sure that he wouldn’t have done it on purpose.

I simply prayed my act of contrition in the pew, and “made up” a penance for myself, similar to what I get from other priests after confessing similar sins.

  1. yes, neither the lack of penance nor act of contrition can invalidate properly pronounced absolution
  2. yes, he should assign a penance but if he does not you can say the our Father slowly and prayerfully, or repeat your last penance.
  3. yes many priests expect penitents to say the act of contrition outside the confessional and both of these are to save time, you were probably right about that

The lack of an “act” of contrition does not make confession invalid (of course we still need to have contrition)

The fact the Priest did not give you a penance also does not invalidate the absolution…he prob. forgot due to the time…you can if you want just do a penance like what you have had before from a similar confession.

But, folks, let’s be clear. Just because the priest did not assign any penance does not mean that it is not necessary to do penance. We are always free to add to the penances that a priest provides us in the confessional if we think that his penance was not sufficient. In this case, it would seem that the OP thinks that he should have been assigned some penance. The, I would suggest to the OP that he assign himself some penance for his own spiritual health and for the building up of the Body of Christ. If the priest is not going to hold you accountable then you need to be mature enough to hold yourself accountable. Just, be reasonable, don’t go overboard in assigning yourself penances. That too is a vice. Sometimes less is more.

I am a candidate & have been to confession twice now. In our instruction, we learned to start with the sign of the cross & move to bless me I have sinned etc do our confession, wait for the penance & say our contrition at the end.
Both times we did not start with the sign of the cross, & I was not asked for or prompted to say my prayer of contrition.
I guess being new, I expected the priest to give me a few prompts. The 2nd time I took a small laminated card with everything to help me.
I believe my confession was valid, but would like to follow the form.
Do different priests have different styles?
I would like to go to confession weekly, but got the impression that father was surprised to see me again so soon after my first confession. I did face to face confession & liked being blessed during the absolution, but almost wish I did behind a screen so maybe I would not pick up on the priests’ body language & could just be kneeling & saying my prayer of contrition after the absolution.
Any thoughts?
I am checking to see when reconciliation is offered at the other parish in town.

Tell the priest that you are new to all this and that you would like some help in getting through the rite. The priest will be happy to help.

I prefer going to confession behind the screen. But, I don’t have a problem going face to face. It all depends on what you are confortable with at this point in your life.

thanks guys, i’m starting up a bible study this week, so i’ll be sure to be back to the forums later this week. you guys are just so helpful

This is one of the primary reasons that I prefer screened confessions myself. I find the other way is too distracting (for me). I don’t have another “variable” to worry about if I’m behind the screen. I can truly focus on my sins, my sorrow, and being receptive to the priest as in persona Christi. I find that reducing self-consciousness, and consciousness of others, facilitates this. But to each his/her own. You will find the method, and the style of confessor, that suits you best. It takes a little exploration but is worth it, especially if you can find a consistent confessor.
God Bless on your journey!

I have a regular confessor who also happens to be my spiritual director.

I also had a very big problem in being able to forgive myself for many of the things in my past. For a while , I was seeking confession weekly, and my confessor, at one point, asked me if I really believed that I was being forgiven by God. My answer was a resounding, “Well, of course, I do Father!” to which he replied, then “Why won’t you forgive yourself, do you think that you know more than God?!”
My penance that day- NOTHING!
My directive from my *spiritual director *(remember, it’s the same person!)-to pray about the merciful love of God, who forgives so long as I ask, not because of what I do. But he made it very clear- this was not a penance, and I was not to think of it as one. This was a directive from him as my spiritual director, as it was obvious to him that I needed to work on this particlar area of my life.

It was a very hard lesson for me to learn, and I am grateful that I had such a wise and patient confessor.

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